From the Principal

As you may have heard, it has been announced by Premier Andrews that students will return to school prior to the end of Term 2.

Further details and information about what that will look like for MSJ students will be provided to families and students in the coming days.

There is no doubt that this has been the strangest start to a term that I have ever experienced in my thirty-year career as a teacher! I am also sure that for parents and students, this is probably never a situation that you would have thought you would be in!

I must say the students and staff are doing an amazing job! I am hearing about some very creative work that is happening and how everyone is adapting to doing things a little differently. The students have shown such maturity and resilience and have been teaching a few of us some very useful technological skills.

I do want to thank you, the parents and carers, for your continued support and gratitude over the last four weeks. Most of you are also working from home and have been supporting your daughter/s with their learning and I thank you for that. I am aware that some of you have had to brush up on your fractions, algebra and try and remember some of your past history lessons!

Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences will be held a little differently this term. Interviews will be held on Thursday 21 May from 9.00am–7.30pm. Due to these unusual circumstances and the fact that they will be conducted via Zoom, they will for this term be only teacher requested interviews. A letter has been forwarded to you outlining the process.

Once we return to school and when we are able, I promise that we will provide opportunities for the students to celebrate and participate in some of the fun activities that they have missed out on during this time of isolation.

Kate Dishon

Student Wellbeing

Over the past month, l have been so impressed by our students' ability to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Students have been able to find new ways to connect, engage and celebrate being part of the MSJ community. Like many of you, l have viewed the many YouTube clips that have satirised remote learning. From the Irish Maths Teacher to the frustrated Israeli mother – what l have found interesting is how these clips express the frustration with remote learning, however this has not been my experience – I have enjoyed teaching my Year 11 English Class through ZOOM. The interaction online has helped me rethink the relationships l have with my students, l have developed a deeper understanding of who they are as young people and this has deepened my ability to create a learning environment where we are all heard. I have loved chatting, setting up break out rooms and entering the students' conversations about the novel they are studying or seeing their gleaming faces when they see each other at the beginning of each class. Learning online and through ZOOM has made me see each student's individuality and nuances that sometimes l may not have seen in the classroom. There are no distractions online – l have to look at each student and try new ways to bring out their best.

Our student leaders have done an awesome and inspiring task of creating a student webpage. Like Mary MacKillop, our student leaders have responded to the challenges of COVID-19 – ‘Never see a need without doing something about it.’ The webpage has so many helpful tips and pages of energy and encouragement that promotes community and relationships. More than ever before, l appreciate the world of the web and how it can bring people together.

As a father, our present condition has taught me and our family to slow down, to take stock and breathe. I have loved sharing weeknight and Sunday night dinners or playing board games or walking Kevin, our Labrador, with my 16 year-old son! The new slow way of life, the sitting on the couch with my family and watching television has been a gift. It has taught me about the gift of seeing every opportunity as a special moment.

This is a perfect opportunity to teach and reinforce the skills of resilience. Life presents us with many challenges and many we cannot control. I continue to talk to our students about having the courage to recognise what we can control and to accept that we cannot control everything. At times, we need to seek support and to hear another perspective. Our College Wellbeing Leaders and the Student Services Team are still here to support you and your daughter during this time. Feel free to contact us. On the Parent Access Module (PAM), we have created many links to support services in the College and to external agencies.





10-12 McCormack & ProvidenceSarah
10-12 Kincumber & PenolaAlison
10-12 Cameron & SolomonClare

Continue to go gently and to capture the slowness of this new time, because before we know it, the pace may change.

With every blessing,

Steven Mifsud - Deputy Principal, Student Wellbeing

Education In Faith

No buildings to gather in - no problem!

Despite many of our activities and liturgies for Term 2 now cancelled, that does not mean faith and spirituality is dormant at MSJ. Our student leaders have led the way in engaging families and students at home, creating prayer tips on their student leaders website. The Faith team has also established Canvas courses for staff and students alike, to provide resources for families and individuals to pray and reflect at home. Chapel prayer is still continuing remotely with video reflections posted weekly for staff and students to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. Our Paschal Way of Light liturgy occurred remotely also, with a slideshow reflection and prayer. Students have been invited to contribute to our Easter creative arts competition, which has challenged them to reflect on the significance of the Resurrection in a creative way.

Our social justice leaders have been very active while in isolation also. Promoting Earth Day initiatives such as growing a plant from home, planning a remote Acceptance Day, a living below the line cooking challenge, and looking ahead to Refugee and Asylum Seeker Week. Faith is certainly still alive at MSJ.

Danielle Fairthorne - Director of Catholic Identity

Pathways Planning

I would encourage Year 12 students to use this time to begin planning your pathway for 2021. I am running Zoom sessions to help you start your early entry applications and answer your Pathways questions. Make sure you check your emails and the Pathways Canvas course for more information.

You can subscribe here to our MSJ Pathways Newsletter or visit the Pathways website here

A handy pathways planning information sheet can be found here. This worksheet shows you the many ways that you can research your desired course or pathway now, apply for early entry selection, important dates in 2020 and links to career guides, TAFES and universities. Information about apprenticeships and traineeships is also available.

Grace Gonzalez - Learning Leader, Pathways

Year 12 VCAL@Home

"The best thing about doing VCAL from home is I'm still able to work from home and achieve all my outcomes from the comfort of my home. Plus fun Zoom calls!"

"The best thing about VCAL at home is how much work I get done each day. I enjoy all the tasks and work, and I have so much fun doing it! My home is a calming environment as I have scented candles all around."

"The first thing I can't wait to do when I go back to school is be able to actually see and talk to my friends in real life."

"The worst thing about VCAL at home is that we are a very hands-on type of class. When assignments are set or being completed, we always help each other out no matter what. Now that we are in quarantine, this is hard to do."

"At home learning is great, because you are in your own space, without any distractions, and VCAL provides you with so many creative, challenging and educational projects to meet all of our outcomes whilst learning from home."

"The best thing about VCAL at home is having a little bit of a sleep in, getting out of bed to get breakfast without being in a rush, and not having to worry about what I look like. Another best thing is that the work is still manageable to do at my comfort in home."


Cricket Victoria Girls Leadership Online Forum

Despite the current issues going on in the world, many girls from a variety of schools across Melbourne in Years 7 and 8 were able to gather together online via remote learning and discuss the importance of Leadership at the Cricket Victoria Girls' Leadership Online Forum.

With our host Bobby Macumber and Panel members including Lani Hammam (2019 forum participant), Sue Sofarnos OAM (MSJ Sports Coordinator and Australian Lacrosse GM) and Melanie Jones OAM (Foxtel Cricket commentator and past Australian Women's Cricketer), over 130 female student leaders were able to learn about the importance of leadership in life.

I felt honoured to be a part of this event with my other classmates as well, and I found it to be a very enjoyable experience to learn from others and get advice as young leaders of the future.

One of the main things that we did learn through this experience is the importance of mentorship and how to find the right person that can guide you and you can trust.

Getting advice from these guest speakers also helped boost our confidence. Some amazing advice that they gave us were:

“To always ask questions out of curiosity or if you need help.”- Lani Hammam

“You can still be a Leader without a title.”- Sue Sofarnos

“Learn to use your voice!”- Melanie Jones

The whole journey of being a leader is about finding your own identity and being true to yourself, and to lean on the people who can help you through the leadership process.

It's important to understand your vision and what your own leadership values are.

Students who attended the forum will now do six online Leadership modules that are to be completed before the CV Girls Leadership Breakfast Forum, planned for later in the year at the CV headquarters, at the Citipower Centre, Junction Oval, St Kilda.

By Sreetoma Deb Roy 8G McCormack

SCSA Sport Initiative

We are very pleased to announce that the SCSA interschool competition is continuing in Term 2 with two exciting competitions for students to get involved in. MSJ won the Division 2 SCSA swimming and junior tennis in the only SCSA competitions we entered in Term 1.

As such, we are very keen to win the only two Term 2 SCSA competitions.

The competitions are:

SCSA ‘Show Us Your Skills’ Competition

8 May – 19 June

Students show a skill in any sport they want to, upload it to the SCSA link and the five most outstanding one-minute entries win trophies.

SCSA Running Competition

8 May – 19 June

1. High participation is encouraged

(School's total weekly kilometres are entered via SCSA link)

2. High Performance Individual

(3km or 5km best individual athlete times entered weekly)

With Term 2 SCSA sport cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it is important we stay healthy, active and connected, and these two interschool sport competition initiatives organised by SCSA are another couple of great ways to stay connected and active!

Student Leadership

College Captains: Olivia Caldwell and Laura Whitfort

Our team has been working hard to create competitions that interest a variety of students here at MSJ. Currently, there is an “MSJ Cribs” competition where teachers and students send in a video showing everyone their online school workspace and other features of their homes, reminiscent of ‘MTV Cribs’. There is also a TikTok contest on at the moment with new themes each week; last week’s theme was comedy, and this week’s is fitness and workouts. Additionally, with the Japanese exchange program no longer going ahead for 2020, the Leadership Team is organising a video message to send to Serei in Japan from MSJ students to stay connected with our sister school.

Arts Captain

Over the last few weeks the Arts Team and I have been finding many creative things to do to ensure an arts presence has not left the lives of the MSJ community. These Include colouring in pages, weekly movie and music recommendations and challenging competitions for students to take part in from their own home. The Arts Team has also put together a comprehensive booklet of Mother’s Day activities, including recipes and DIY gifts for Mum. In the future, the Arts Team is hoping that we get to run more of these types of activities, challenges and competitions in order for members of the community to stay creative.

Wellbeing Captain

Since the beginning of Term 2, the Wellbeing Portfolio have been working very hard to keep the MSJ community engaged and to support everyone through the transition to online learning. On the ‘Wellbeing’ page of the MSJ Connect site, there are a range of different ideas to try to maintain a positive state of mind, body and spirit, while in these different times (such as mindfulness activities, working-from-home tips and external support resources).

The Student Leadership Team are also running the May Minutes Marathon: an inter-house competition where students submit every 30 minutes of physical activity that they engage in, in order to win points for their House. We hope to see everyone participate in this competition, in order to renew our sense of House spirit, as members of the MSJ community.

Academic Captain

Since the start of Term 2 the Academic Team and Academic Captain have been working together to continue a healthy and productive learning mindset. On the Academic page, there is a range of resources that have been put together to ensure all students have access to resources that are necessary. It includes mental stimulation games, documentaries, TED Talks and book reviews that are all updated weekly. Recently, there have been a series of Kahoots to keep students busy at lunch.

In the future, we are hoping to create more fun lunchtime activities and provide more access to multiple learning resources. Challenges and competitions are also in the making. On the website, a section for the LRC will be designed to support students in using the Learning Resource Centre’s resource, ‘Oliver’.

Ministry Captain

The Ministry Portfolio have been working hard to keep the MSJ community to stay connected with Faith. On the ‘MSJ Connect’ website there are many activities and ways that students can still touch base with faith, including information about Ramadan, mindfulness and gratitude prayers. This also includes the ‘Faith @ MSJ’ Canvas resource, which has a range of activities including Pascal Way of Light. To access more information stay tuned and keep an eye out on our ‘Faith @ MSJ’ on CANVAS as well as the ‘MSJ Connect’ website.

I am also proud to announce that as a community, we have finished up another year of fundraising for Caritas’ Project Compassion. As a school community, we raised:

  • $235.50 at our International Women's Day Breakfast,
  • $468.75 from pancakes flipped lovingly by our student leaders on Shrove Tuesday,
  • and $516.55 from selling some sizzled sausages.

As a whole school community, we have raised a total of $2,854.80 for disadvantaged communities and populations around the world. That's over five thousand workbooks for students in Cambodia, or over two and a half thousand baby chickens, or even enough to send at least three children to school for an entire year in the Philippines.

Social Justice

The Social Justice Portfolio has been busy thinking of ways to engage students during this time. We celebrated Earth Day which encouraged students to #thinkclimate and make environmentally friendly decisions such as growing plants and not using electricity for a day. The Live Below the Line Challenge is also running this week which sees participants living on $2 a day. We are also focusing on ways our school can help and support the community and have come up with a new initiative: letter writing to the community. This opportunity allows students to write letters to seniors at Embracia Aged Care or messages of support to staff at Western Health. In the next few weeks, we will be celebrating Acceptance Day, National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week so keep an eye out on the Social Justice@MSJ page on Canvas as well as the ‘MSJ Connect’ website for more details.

2020 Peace Exchange Program (Seirei Visit)

Due to COVID-19, the annual visit of Seirei students to MSJ this year in July has been regrettably cancelled. I would like to thank all host sisters/families who applied to host a Seirei student. Your ongoing support of our Peace Exchange program is very much acknowledged and appreciated. We look forward to the day we can join together again with our Seirei colleagues and students in much safer circumstances.

Takahiro Hayashi - Peace Exchange Co-ordinator

Recess with Seirei Students

On 24 April, we were privileged to be able to organise a zoom call with the Seirei students that we hosted in Year 7. Over the last 3 years, we have stayed in contact with them via social media and it was so nice to have a proper conversation with them. We got to bond over everything we did together and how much fun we had when they were here. We looked through all the origami they had made us, the cards we had written and presents we gave to each other. We compared how our time in isolation was going and they also helped us with our japanese homework. It was lovely to get to see them and we plan on doing it again.

By Isabel Vella and Amelia Vivera - Year 10 students